It is the ninth anniversary of Hunter Lifestyle magazine and I thought it was time to write an article about some of the anecdotal things related to cosmetic facial surgery. I would invite you to make of them what you will.
There has been a lot of research put into facial features and their relevance and in particular the beauty side of facial features.
It is true that there are over six billion people in the world and it is amazing that all of those six billion faces are different; even identical twins have subtle differences. Just a glance at somebody’s face will give us a huge amount of information. It will tell us the gender of the person, their age, and their race and give us an indication of their health and very often tell us their state of mind.
Scanning measurements taken of the eyes of people looking at faces show that the first place we look is at the other person’s eyes. We then look at the mouth, the nose and the cheeks and the skin. The last places we look are at the forehead and the ears.
This makes the eyes intrinsically important. They have been called “the windows to the soul.” Eyes are probably the single most important entity in conveying honest facial emotions. It is easy to pick a false smile where the eyes do not smile and only the lower third of the face smiles.
The skin is also an important factor that we look at on a face. It is one of the main things we use to interpret health and age.
There has been a lot of research into ideal facial measurements. Sometimes, when you see the lines drawn on facial images to do these measurements, the face looks very much like a jigsaw puzzle. There are theoretical ideals relating to the brows, the eyes, the nose, the lips, the cheeks, the forehead and the proportions of the overall face. These ideals come from a compilation of large numbers of beautiful faces.
These compilations have led to some interesting things as well. The compilation of a European female face, when the actual image is large numbers of faces blended to make one, produces an attractive, soft, inviting female face but when performed with males produces a bland and boring face.
For a long time the term “baby face” has been used to describe an attractive look in females. Interesting and perhaps disturbing research where the facial features of a large number of attractive female models were put into a computer able to measure facial age according to proportions on the face, suggested the age of these girls to average between six and seven years.
What is thought to be beautiful regarding proportions in faces has been shown to be fairly uniform throughout the various races. Images produced by blending features of attractive individuals from different races has produced a look which indeed has become quite popular for actors, actresses and models within our media. This may relate to the globalisation that we have seen in the late 20th Century.
Transculturally, people of for example, Caucasian racial appearance will find the same people attractive within for example, the Asian racial group as does the Asian racial group itself.
This attraction is itself interesting as attraction is variable depending on what we want to do with a relationship.
Whilst a person may find a Bo Derek scale 10 person the most attractive, they will often choose a person rating about a 5 on that scale as a mate. The psychology of this is thought to be an element of narcissism. A person rating 5 on a scale of 1 -10 will often prefer to form long term relationships with another person rating around the same. This is because we have an expectation that a similar appearing person will have a similar emotional and psychological attitude to ourselves. It is a type of empathy.
Other research has indicated that love is a bit of a drug and the initial prompting of this can relate to our perception of beauty. It has been shown that the Limbic system (a fairly basic old part of our brain), releases endorphins when we are exposed to a beautiful face. Endorphins are the hormones in our brains that make us feel good.
Another interesting aspect of beauty is that people smile more when they look at their reflection in the mirror after they put on makeup, than before they put on makeup. Some quite interesting work has suggested that Psychiatric patients suffering from depression and dementia showed a significant increase in their independence, their sociability and their communication when they were taught to use makeup and were able to spend time applying that makeup each morning. Even more interesting is perhaps the finding that the mobility of elderly women was increased significantly when they too were encouraged in the use of and taught to apply makeup by professionals.
In younger women it has been shown that there is a decrease in cortisol hormones which are the hormones relating to stress and an increase in IgA which relates to improved immunity in younger women when they have had cosmetic treatment (that is to say masks, massages and make overs).
So do these anecdotal findings mean anything? Personally I am not sure how to interpret them but I guess they do support the concept that to look good is psychologically positive, physiologically positive and perhaps an intrinsic part of the nature of human beings.
In short looking good and taking the effort to look our best probably allows us to have a greater pride in ourselves as individuals.